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The despairing hunt for better am radio reception


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#1 watoop

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Posted 24 November 2010 - 10:54 PM

Out of sheer bloody mindedness, I'm continuing to try to find out why the am (mw and lw) reception is so poor on my 2007 tdci zetec (standard 6000CD unit). Basically it's crackle city with Radio 5 just about listenable (but bad) and anything else on mw or lw sounding like it's being broadcast from the bottom of a pit in a lightning storm.
Today I bought a new aerial mast (not hopeful and proved right as only a marginal improvement). So tonight off comes the interior light to see if anything looks amiss in the roof space. My question is that there is one green wire (two core copper) attached to the bottom of the aerial (attached to a round silver piece of metal) which I assume then goes down through the front of the car to the back of the stereo - should anything else be attached to the aerial base than this? I tried holding a screwdriver across to the see if I could make any improvement (earthing?) but no dice.
Any help would be really appreciated as I listen to Radio 5 a lot and I can't afford to get a DAB unit. I don't think I live in poor reception area as the wife's mk1 focus sounds fine.

#2 4titx

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 09:21 AM

So I guess the radio is out of the 3 year warranty or the warranty the dealer has given you.

Without having access to a Radio Frequency signal generator you cant really tell where the fault lays.

As far as the dealer is concerned he should be able to simply compare your car with any other car on AM and hear the difference and draw a conclusion as to whether to investigate. You’ve already know its faulty and proved it with your wifes car.

It can only be one of 2 things, radio or antennae. The antennae is so simple and unlikely. (it doesn’t need an amplifier or matching circuit like rear heated screen types do)

The first test would be to simply swap out the radio to prove its not the radio.

The antenna base you describe is correct. I checked this against a friend of mine who has a non DAB Sony and the green cable is a coaxial cable. There is nothing extra on there. In a 3 year old car there would shouldn’t be an earth issue and if there was, it would be because the antenna base was loose or some water ingress and rust present. It would also affect FM.

I suggest you take it back to the dealer and see if they will swap it out if only to prove it. If they do, try and check that the date the radio was manufactured is in the same year your car was assembled. If it isn’t, then someone could have swapped out the radio with a duff one.
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#3 watoop

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 04:20 PM

Thanks for the response - at least I now know that there isn't something really obvious that is wrong.
It is out of warranty and was bought via a non-franchised dealer so don't think there is much redress there (there is a warranty but it is one of those "we will replace the engine if it falls out but nothing else" ones).
It's annoying but not enough to consider big bills for replacement - there's always that Pure Highway DAB FM thing to try or maybe I can persuade the BBC to put Radio 5 on FM!
One final stupid thought - the coax from the aerial obviously plugs into the back of the unit. Worth getting the whole unit out to have a look for loose connection (I've read its screwed into the trim though rather than the old lever out from the front holes method on the old 6000 unit)?

#4 4titx

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 04:46 PM

That’s a shame regards warranty.

If it’s a bad connection at the rear of the radio, it’s likely to affect FM too of course. I take it that reception is still poor with engine not running (I know it’s a diesel).

Is there a repair or replace service anywhere. I guess the DAB Highway is probably a cheaper option than a new unit.

Its a long time since I had to tweak an AM receiver in a car, but I don’t know if the 6000CD auto tunes to the antenna, it probably does, Am used to have to be tuned to the antenna, as the antenna is in effect too short for the AM signals.
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#5 watoop

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 07:47 PM

That’s a shame regards warranty.

If it’s a bad connection at the rear of the radio, it’s likely to affect FM too of course. I take it that reception is still poor with engine not running (I know it’s a diesel).

Is there a repair or replace service anywhere. I guess the DAB Highway is probably a cheaper option than a new unit.

Its a long time since I had to tweak an AM receiver in a car, but I don’t know if the 6000CD auto tunes to the antenna, it probably does, Am used to have to be tuned to the antenna, as the antenna is in effect too short for the AM signals.


Yep - engine seems to make no difference. FM is fine. My last throw of the dice is that I noticed the wife's Focus has the same antenna screw fitting. So I'll try that but 100/1 shot really. Then I'll give up :)

#6 The Artilleryman

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 08:14 AM

My last throw of the dice is that I noticed the wife's Focus has the same antenna screw fitting. So I'll try that but 100/1 shot really. Then I'll give up :)


Aerial base and rod are the same part no. for Mondeo and Focus.
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